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New Publication: Comparison of digital video surveys with visual aerial surveys for bird monitoring at sea

There have been questions around the advantages and disadvantages of high-definition aerial video technology and the method and how the results compared to those from traditional visual aerial survey flights. To answer these questions, parallel flights were carried out using the HiDef method closely followed by a visual aerial survey team. The results of this study are now published in the Journal of Ornithology.

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Among other things the study shows that the digital survey provided higher numbers of bird sightings and higher spatial accuracy than the visual survey. Also, more individuals were identified to species level in the digital survey dataset for the majority of taxonomic groups. These advantages supplement other previously identified benefits of digital aerial surveys, such as the elimination of bird disturbance due to high flight altitude, reduced observer bias, and availability of raw data for quality assurance.

Andy Webb, HiDef’s Managing Director, said today, “It’s great to see this independent study now published in a peer-reviewed journal. It shows what we have known for a while, that the HiDef digital video aerial survey method used for this research is a much better way to assess the numbers and distribution of seabirds out at sea than traditional methods, especially for making important decisions about the potential impact of new offshore developments.”

A copy of this publication in the Journal of Ornithology can be obtained here: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-018-1622-4